Jefferson County Jury Awards $150,000, Returns Defense Verdict on Fraud for Orkin
Birmingham, Alabama (October 6, 2005) — After a four week trial, a Jefferson County jury today returned its verdict in the McCord Properties, Ltd. v. Orkin case in which the plaintiffs alleged they were defrauded as part of a nationwide scheme by Orkin.
The plaintiffs were the former owners of two apartment complexes totaling 25 buildings in the Center Point area of Birmingham. The lawsuit alleged that Orkin fraudulently performed termite protection services at the complexes over a period of almost twenty years. The plaintiffs sold both complexes in 2004. They contended in the lawsuit that Orkin’s misconduct led to massive termite damage at both complexes and forced them to sell the apartments at a loss of $850,000.
The trial judge directed a verdict against Orkin for breach of contract. Therefore, the disputed matters were the amount of compensatory damages for breach of contract and plaintiffs’ fraud and punitive damage claims. The plaintiffs requested $850,000 compensatory damages and $640 million in punitive damages. After a four week trial, the jury awarded $150,000 on the contract claim and returned a defense verdict on all fraud claims. The $150,000 award was $50,000 less than the offer of judgment made by Orkin two months before the trial started.
Mike Bell and Stephen Rowe defended Orkin